BEST DAY TRIP - 2002
The concept of working 9 to 5 is a relatively recent invention. Our hunter-gatherer predecessors led comparatively indolent lives, picking berries or catching fish to survive, which explains why so many cities and civilizations were founded along the river byways of the world. This all goes to the atavistic appeal of Pepin, Wisconsin, located on a swollen part of the Mississippi River some 90 miles south of the Twin Cities. Here you will find fishermen lazing on the shores, along with fat little sailboats and equally fat birds floating dolefully on Lake Pepin's undulating water. In Pepin itself, the century-old buildings have been converted into a few art galleries, a community theater, a coffeehouse, a blacksmith shop, and the Harbor View Café. The blacksmith gives regular demonstrations of his craft. And as you might expect, given the hunter-gatherer mindset, the restaurant's menu is both excellent and variable, featuring fish, locally farmed pheasant, pork tenderloin with unusual sauces (like rhubarb), and so on. But be advised--in keeping with Pepin's old-school vibe, the wait can be longish. So, if you go, leave your cell phone behind and remember the fortitude of our forefathers.